Is it possible to turn an old HDD into a wireless storage device?


Jan 5, 2013
I have an old HDD lying around which I don't use anymore, and I'd like to setup a backup storage device which everyone in the house can use. I was just curious as to whether you can get a device which lets you connect a hard drive to your home's LAN, so you can access it from any computer?


There are many options available for a NAS storage, usually a small device which you can fill with your own harddrives. You only need to connect a NAS to your home router through a network cable. There is also the similar possibility of WIFI storage, but usual a cable is faster. You can even use an old computer you might have gathering dust and set it up as a network storage server.
If your router has a USB port, it probably has an option to share a HDD over the network. Just put the HDD into a USB enclosure and plug it in. Then configure the router for shared storage.

It won't be very fast - older routers typically only achieved 10-15 MB/s with a HDD hooked up this way. Newer ones usually manage 30-40 MB/s. But that should be fast for basic file sharing and backups. The first backup will take forever, but if you make sure subsequent backups are incremental or differential it won't take anywhere near as much time.

After that, what you want is called a NAS - network attached storage. Those typically are able to hit 30-60 MB/s transfer speeds for the cheap ones, 80-120 MB/s for the expensive ones. I discourage using an old computer for this purpose because a NAS is almost always left on 24/7. Older computers typically burned close to 100 Watts at idle, while a dedicated NAS will burn closer to 15-20 Watts. If you pay the average U.S. electricity price, over a year that extra 80 Watts will cost you $80. And in a few years you've paid enough extra in electricity to have just bought the NAS to begin with. The only "old computer" I recommend for this purpose is an old laptop (those typically burn about 8-15 Watts).
They sell those tinny wireless harddrives so am sure there is a way but the ones I've seen are for single user and it's meant to be NEAR you, I dunno if they actually use WIFI or just bluetooth. For multiple users then, and more than say 30 feet, you are looking for wireless NAS which may not be cheap. Is there a USB jack in your back of your router, can use that.

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